William L. Grozier interview with Tales of Cape Cod, November 15, 1977.
Mr. Grozier was born in North Truro in 1904. His paternal grandfather John Paine Grozier was born in Truro. His grandfather’s occupation was a teamer, one who collected cargo from shipwrecks on the beaches and then reloaded it on ships. His father John Franklin Grozier was a road man who worked for the town of Truro for 32 years. Mr. Grozier explains the construction and use of weir nets. He remembers his father using a horse and wagon to repair the roads. He describes what life was like as a child in North Truro. He was one of 12 children and all the clothes were hand me downs. He slept in the attic. There was no running water or electricity. They would heat a soap stone in the oven and wrap it in a towel and put it at the foot of their bed to warm their feet. His family kept cows, pigs and chickens. In the Fall people would buy their winter supplies. Most people worked from Spring to late Fall. There was little work in the winter except when ships came aground and needed salvage. Kerosene lamps were used until electricity came in 1931. As a teenager he worked for Highland House, a boarding house. Later, he worked for the Whitman House where he would pick up guests at the railroad station and transport them to the Whitman House. In the winter he worked as a road man maintaining the dirt roads in Truro. From the Summer to the Fall he worked for the town maintaining paved roads. He had to have his own horse and he had to pay for horse shoes and horse feed. He was paid $100 a month and after a while he found that the costs of horse shoes and feed did not cover the living expenses and he had to leave the job. He remembers clearing the roads of snow by hand, walking seven miles to the Provincetown line and then back seven miles. In the winter clearing the railroad tracks was first priority and then the road to the coast guard station would be next. He also remembers taring the nets each Spring. The weir nets would be soaked in hot tar and then laid out in fields to dry. He worked for the town as a sealer of weights and measures, as Dog Officer and Inspector of Animals. He also was a grave digger and was paid $10 per grave. He remembers the building of the Jenny Lind Tower. The stones were brought from Boston each marked for placement. Each stone was placed in a horse and wagon and transported to the beach. Masons from Boston would then reassemble the blocks. He explains the term drummers and how cold storage fish plants were part of the weir fishing process. Weir fishing died out when stocks depleted and the cold storage plant burned down. Mr. Grozier recalls how Dr. Wilbur would come to your home to do eye exams and then a week later would meet you at your home or at work to deliver and fit your new glasses.
The Tales of Cape Cod Oral History Collection is housed at the William Brewster Nickerson Archives in the Wilkens Library at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, Massachusetts. For more information about the collection, please contact the Nickerson Archives, http://www.nickersonarchives.org/.